Family of slain Lancaster High School basketball star: 'He was a good kid'

LANCASTER, S.C. — Police in Lancaster are searching for a murder suspect after a high school student was shot and killed Wednesday night outside a community center.

[IMAGES: High school basketball player shot to death in Lancaster]

Officers were called to the scene around 9 p.m. at Hope on the Hill on West Meeting Street and found 17-year-old Allen Cooper lying on the ground in the parking lot, suffering from a gunshot wound.

Paramedics pronounced Cooper dead at the scene. Police told Channel 9 he was a basketball player at Lancaster High School.

Investigators told Eyewitness News that a basketball game had just finished and a group of people were leaving when someone fired shots, hitting Cooper.

Police have not said if he was the target or if there is a motive behind the shooting.

(Allen Cooper / Facebook)

"We've got a lot of work going on right now, talking to a lot of people...trying to make sense of what happened," said Lancaster Police Chief Scott Grant.

(Click PLAY to watch Cooper's basketball coach talk about the 17-year-old)

Relatives told Channel 9 that Cooper was a good kid who loved basketball. The teen’s uncle was in tears as he asked the community to pray for them.

“Allen didn't deserve this, man, doing what he loved to do, shooting ball, coming out of the gym,” said Angelo Cunningham.

His coaches and teammates are devastated and remembered Cooper as a talented and energetic young man.

"He'd do something funny to make my day better at practice. He always pushed me to go harder," teammate Cordarious Tinsley said.

"It's a very tough day, but we're going to celebrate the life that he lived, and we're going to remember him," coach Ricardo Priester said.

(Click PLAY to watch Cooper's basketball coach talk about losing him)

Lancaster High School officials told Channel 9 there were extra counselors at the school Thursday for students and faculty.

Principal Rosalyn Mood said it was a tough day for everyone at the school.

"As a mother, my heart is broke. As a principal, my heart is broken 1,400 more times for our kids," Mood said.

No suspect information has been released and detectives are asking anyone with information to come forward.

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